Background: The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that fluvastatin might improve arterial stiffness, as assessed with pulse wave velocity (PWV), in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and hyperlipidemia over the long term.
Methods and results: Ninety-three patients were randomly assigned to either fluvastatin (group A, n=50) or bezafibrate (group B, n=43) and followed for 5 years. There was no difference in the clinical findings between the 2 groups. In group A, there was a progressive reduction in the brachial-ankle PWV along with a decrease in serum low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and C-reactive protein (CRP) by 12 months after fluvastatin, and the improvement was maintained until 5 years after treatment. In group B, despite identical lowering of the serum lipid, PWV was progressively increased. In group A, the percentage change in PWV correlated significantly with that of the serum CRP (r=0.49, p<0.001), but not with that of the serum LDL-C after treatment.
Conclusions: The beneficial vascular effects of fluvastatin persisted for a long period in patients with CAD and hyperlipidemia. Its anti-inflammatory action might contribute to the favorable effects on arterial stiffness.